Guest Post: Pumpkin Bread

2 people, 2 cats, 1 car, 2,000 miles. To say that I am exhausted would be an understatement. But the good news is that we made it (drove from OH to CA)! The cats were unbelievably good in the car, in fact, they probably did better than I did! Now I’ll be spending the next week or so cleaning, moving, organizing, and searching for the lost pieces of my mind. Ha! In the meantime, I have another fabulous blogging friend helping me out with a guest post today! I first met Krystal “in real life” at last years Foodbuzz festival and she has quickly become one of my favorite people (and a fellow SoCal girl!). Besides being sweet, fun, and adorable, she’s also a fabulous blogger and mommy. Check out her delicious posts such as S’mores Whoppie Pies, Carrot Cake Cheesecake, and Migas Casserole – bonus, adorable pictures of her baby at the bottom of each post! Thank you so much for helping me out, Krystal!

Hi-ya Sunny Side readers!

My name is Krystal from Mrs. Regueiro’s Plate, and I’m so happy to be able to guest post today on Sunny Side Up. I have been following Jessica’s blog for quite sometime, and she’s such a sweetheart to call a friend, too. We actually met in real life last year at the Foodbuzz Conference and hit it off like old friends. She’s the perfect person to have around when you want to split a peanut butter sundae or share some scrumptious lobster tacos. I can’t wait until she returns back home to sunny SoCal and we can meet up again and foodie patrol the streets.

Since you may not know me – a few things…I am a stay at home mama to an almost 6 month-old Elena, who takes up ALL of my time, but she’s the sunshine of my life. Whenever I manage to spare some free time, I enjoy cooking and baking, sewing, crafting, gardening and watching movies/tv shows off on Netflix. Since my free time has been cut significantly, I have accepted to make some shortcuts, make adjustments, and accept that all meals don’t always have to be gourmet or perfect. Getting a meal on the table for dinner is successful enough for me and spending quality time with my little sweet cookie and husband are the best things in life.

I wanted to share my new favorite recipe for Pumpkin bread. I absolutely love everything about Fall, the change in colder weather (when it eventually happens in SoCal since we’re still experiencing 90 degree temp. days), all of the delicious holiday foods, the sweater and scarf combo wearing days, and everything pumpkin foodie related. My go-to recipe was the Starbucks Pumpkin Bread because it was utterly drool-worthy but this new recipe makes for one really good pumpkin bread. It’s absolutely creamy and the pumpkin flavor is really rich and balanced. I like that the cream cheese is melted into the batter giving this extra buttery note to the bread.  The sweet streusel topping and crunchy pepitas give that extra contrast and crunch to the pumpkin bread, too

It’s a classic pumpkin bread taken up a notch! Thanks for letting me guest post Jessica!

 

Soft Garlic Knots

Brace yourself for incoming carbs!! Seriously, I was planning out my posts for the next few weeks and I realized I had 4 (maybe even 5!) bread recipes in the queue. Do I have a problem with carbs? Very good possibility!

This particular bread/roll recipe is one that’s been a regular in my kitchen for probably 3 or 4 years now. I even had it posted on my old blog. The only reason it didn’t make the “Top 30(1)” import cut was because I hated the photo and I make them often enough that I knew I would eventually get a photo I was happier with. The time has finally come and I think you’re going to love these rolls just as much as I do!

 

 

Blueberry Lemon Loaf

I had so much fun participating in the last recipe swap that I had to do it again! The blog I got this time was Jenna’s Cooking Journey. Several recipes caught my eye, but I was in the mood to bake (when am I not in the mood to bake? ha!). So when I saw this recipe for a Blueberry Lemon Loaf, I was sold. Blueberries, lemons, sugar, and baking? These are a few of my favorite things.

The loaf came together easily. The only change I made was to slightly increase the vanilla, and to wait to add the lemon juice with the milk. The outside of my bread got a little darker than I was hoping for, but I wasn’t too surprised. My oven has some crazy hot spots and a light that is always on when the oven is on. It still tasted great! A tender crumb with a hint of lemon and bursts of blueberry. And the lemon glaze was perfect for keeping the bread moist. I will definitely make it again!



 

 

Perfect Pizza Dough

 

Over the years I have tried a lot of different recipes for pizza dough.  The pizzas that I made were always successful, but I was never blown away by the crust. I’ve found you can disguise a mediocre crust with really great toppings, but why settle for mediocre? When I go to my favorite pizza restaurants I would never discard that extra inch of bread, yet at home I always did. I needed to do something about that.

That’s where this recipe comes in. This recipe yields dough that is crisp on the bottom with a tender and chewy crust around the edges. You aren’t overwhelmed with a flour-y taste and it has just the right amount of olive oil flavor. It works just as well with plain cheese pizza as it does with a flavorful BBQ Chicken pizza (like the photo, recipe to come). Quite simply, it’s the perfect pizza dough. Do not be intimidated by the length of these directions, it’s really not difficult to make and the recipe makes enough for 2 pizzas, so the work of one day spreads to 2 meals!

*Warning – I took a LOT of photos of this process!


Perfect Pizza Dough

Ingredients
1/2 cup warm water (about 110°)
1/4 tsp granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl

Directions
Stir together 1/2 cup of warm water with the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and allow to proof for 5 minutes (yeast will dissolve, water will start to look milky and foamy). Stir in the room temperature water and olive oil.

While the yeast is proofing, stir together the bread flour and salt. Create a well in the flour and pour in the water/yeast mixture.

Using a strong wooden spoon, begin to work the flour into the liquid.

When it becomes too difficult to do by hand, flip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with hands for 10 minutes until it forms a smooth and elastic ball, adding only enough flour to work surface and hands to keep dough from sticking. If the dough seems too dry and hard to knead, you can add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Alternatively, use a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook to combine flour and salt. Pour in the liquid and allow to knead on low speed for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. 

At this point I think the dough needed just a minute or so more of kneading

Spray a large mixing bowl with non-stick cooking spray or coat lightly with olive oil. Add the ball of dough, gently moving it around the bowl to coat with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 90-120 minutes, or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough. If you plan to bake immediately, preheat oven to hottest temperature (450-500 degrees F) and place a pizza stone in the lower 1/3 of oven. If you plan to use later, divide dough into 2, shape into balls, cover tightly with plastic wrap, place in a ziploc bag, and freeze. Later, remove dough from freezer and allow to thaw in fridge overnight, then proceed to following steps. Do the same with one ball if you plan to make one pizza now and one pizza later.

Divide dough into 2. Cover with a clean, damp towel, and allow to relax for 10-20 minutes. Working one at a time, place the dough ball on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Use hands and begin to stretch the dough, turning the parchment paper as necessary to keep an even round shape, into a 12-inch round. Using a pastry brush, apply a thin layer of olive oil to the outer inch. Top with desired toppings, leaving the outer 3/4-1 inch ridge.

Using a pizza peel or large cookie sheet, transfer parchment paper and pizza to hot pizza stone and bake for 8-12 minutes or until the outer crust starts to turn golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Repeat with second ball of dough, if using right away.

Tips:

  • Always preheat oven to highest temperature at least 30 minutes prior to baking. Hot, hot, hot ovens are how pizza delivery joints get crispy crust.
  • If desired, use hands to create an outer ridge in the dough. (I cup my left hand a little and use the outside edge of my right to sort of “pinch” the dough all the way around)
  • If you are having trouble stretching your pizza dough, allow it rest for 5-10 minutes. This gives the gluten time to relax.
  • Don’t be afraid to cook the pizza right on the parchment paper. It makes it much easier to transfer to the oven.

Source: Baking Illustrated, as seen on Good Thymes and Good Food